Trade Bill - Committee (1st Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 5:45 pm on 21st January 2019.

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Photo of Lord Davies of Stamford Lord Davies of Stamford Labour 5:45 pm, 21st January 2019

I want to be absolutely clear about something. I did not suggest for a moment that SMEs do not have a valuable part to play in defence procurement. I said simply that it may be impossible or expensive in terms of the risks for our soldiers and other servicemen and servicewomen if we insist on a particular quota of procurement from small businesses. We should first of all decide what is necessary to procure for our Armed Forces, then we should procure it. We should hope that as a result SMEs have as large a part as possible, and we should encourage the major contractors to have as large a number of small suppliers as possible, but we should not take any risks to meet some arbitrary quota.